‘The troops who left Afghanistan on Monday last after 13 years of war  were told by Downing Street and the White House, the MoD and the Pentagon, that, all things considered, their efforts had been worthwhile. I suppose they can say no other.’ above, US marines preparing to depart following  the end of operations for marines and British combat troops in Helmand on Monday. Photograph: /Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Opinion: More than $100 billion has been spent and thousands have died, yet it remains one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt(...)

A protest of Travellers and supporters protest outside the Dáil on Kildare Street, Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Opinion: ‘It struck me that if we had taken this approach in the North, there might still be a government at Stormont, probably he(...)

‘Peter Robinson will not be attending today’s gathering on account of having “a very full diary as First Minister on Thursday”.’ Above, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a press conference after a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council at Dublin Castle earlier this month. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Opinion: North talks include parades, the past, flags, welfare reform and the election of a new Assembly speaker

‘Back at the United Nations, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was explaining that any apparent differences between Isis, Hamas, Iran, Hizbollah, the Assad regime, the Palestinian Authority, etc, etc, were entirely illusory.’ Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Opinion: Isis proclaims its disregard for national borders. Hamas, on the other hand, is a nationalist organisation par excellence(...)

‘Within 48 hours of Theresa Villiers’s optimistic projection, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced the closure of the historical enquiries team  by Christmas, due to a cut in the policing budget.’ Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

Opinion: ‘The chances of Loyalist or Republican paramilitary groups making a clean breast of it are slim at best. The chances of t(...)

‘No golf writer or proper sports journalist has speculated that Paul McGinley’s sensational hint that he might “split” Northerners Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell for the doubles matches in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this weekend was down to Rory being from a Catholic background and Graeme  from Protestant stock.’ Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Opinion: American fans, like the players, seem to be more fervent than their European counterparts

‘Would one among them urge English cities, towns and villages to drape themselves in the Ulster Banner, aka St Patrick’s Saltire, to send the message – “Stay”?’ Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivers a speech at Scottish Labour campaign headquarters in Glasgow. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Opinion: Miliband’s madcap flags proposal has been but one sign of panic in the No camp

‘The majority of people in Gaza and the West Bank believes that Hamas won the latest battle in the long-running war between Palestinians  and Israeli authorities.’ Above, Hamas supporters take part in a rally celebrating what organisers say was a victory by Palestinians in Gaza over Israel following a ceasefire, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.   Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Opinion: The figures signal the failure of Israel and its allies to persuade the Palestinians by punishment

‘Understandably the DUP is ever alert for incidents which can be construed as evidence of bad faith by the Shinners’. Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Go On Home’ was originally recorded by the Wolfe Tones

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